While reading your musings on free will in “Brief Peeks Beyond” I felt like sharing mine. I’ll try to make it short. Your idea that a “free” choice is one unhindered by aspects outside what one identifies with sounds good. If a source obviously outside myself affects my choice, it’s not free. However, usually our choices are based on preferences, which seem much closer to the “self” and are often identified with, but that, of course, begs the question – what is the source of those preferences? Usually it’s biology and/or past experiences, so the source is outside one’s “self” (the conscious experience of “I” in the present moment) again.
But here are my two cents: we know that consciousness is mysterious by definition. As Sam Harris said: “The fact that the universe is illuminated where you stand is a mystery, perhaps only exceeded by the mystery of why is there something rather than nothing in the first place.” Both you and Harris have elaborated why attempts to reduce consciousness to material phenomena and thus explain it fail. So, what if consciousness has a somewhat mysterious quality, a faculty to choose something without reason or preference, the only reason for choosing being the sheer joy of exercising this faculty? This kind of choice is more like a game, a dance, not serving any practical purpose, and isn’t this kind of choice the only thing that would make any game, dance or creative endeavor interesting and meaningful?
What if out of this kind of unhindered creativity this very odd cosmos was born? The ability of consciousness to create/choose something unseen and unheard from the infinity of possibilities, for no reason other than exercising this faculty of creating one thing instead of another?